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The lives of miners and their families have long been a source of inspiration to poets and artists, and with good reason. The history of the miners typifies the working class struggle to rise above deprivation and victimisation.

After a terrible accident in a US coal mine, Del "Abe" Jones sent me a poem entitled, "Just Another Coalminer's Daughter". It is a touching poem and one I wanted to share with miners the world over.

"Just Another Coalminer's Daughter" is printed below, along with a selection of more of Del's poetry.

Many thanks to Del "Abe" Jones for sharing these poems with us all.













Another Coalminer’s Daughter (and Son)
Has Heart and Soul beneath the Ground
With Tears and Hopes and Prayers
That their lost Daddies will be Found.

Hoping for some great Miracle
Not only Found, but Safe and Well
One more Escape from the Hazards
That Stories and the Folklore tell.

A Dangerous Job at its best
And for some the only one
To take care of their Family
It’s one Chore that Must be Done.

We all know the Historical
Of the company town and store
Some say those days are gone??
But, it’s known they could do More.

The wages for the "Muckers" (look it up)
And those Men who run the Drills
May be Paid a little More
But, the Lack of Safety still Kills.

The Bureau of Mines (and Safety)
Although they have done much good
Like most all federal agencies
Not Half, nearly what they should.

So the Money, buying favors
Flows much faster than the Ore
To protect the mining companies
From the Pimp, to the real Whore.

The preceding written Tuesday

After the news they were found alive
I'm adding this this morning
From joyful, happy, jubilation
To the pain and tears and mourning.

How could this have happened?
Why was the good news so wrong?
And though some knew about it
Why did the truth take so long?

Then there is the rage and anger
That has come a bit too late
About all the safety violations
That have sealed those Miners Fate.

If the officials with the power
From Fed, State, or Company
Had fulfilled their obligations
They could have stopped this tragedy.

If the men themselves had complained
They probably would have been let go
But what could those violations cost?
Well sadly now, we all know.

Just another of those lessons learned
(Though we all know that isn't so)
Soon it will be the same ol' same
To guarantee the money flow.

Lives are cheap and expendable
When it comes to the bottom line
Seems it's always been and will be
For those folks down in the Mine.

Del "Abe" Jones


(The story of an actual occurrence at Wide Canyon)

Standing grimly, dark mouth yawning;
Stretching far 'neath mountain's crest;
Days are marked by no bright dawning
Where the tunnel hides its breast.

Timbers large, great rocks upholding,
Steel and crown bars keyed and blocked;
Wedge and foot blocks hold unfolding,
Myst'ries Mother Earth has locked.

But as Nature, in great fury
At the secrets from her torn,
Manmade structures break and crumble;
Of their strength she shows her scorn.

Creak! Snap! Shouts! A roar! A grinding!
Dust and ground stench fill the air!
Strong men flee! A safe place finding,
From the dangers hidden there!

Lights are gone! The darkness smothers!
Matches flicker through the haze!
Names are called! Each thinks of others
As they stagger from the maze!

One man missing? Tom McColgan
Is he caught beneath that fall?
Was poor Tom buried as he ran?
Surely they could hear him call!

But at last there comes faint tapping,
From that fallen mass of ground!
Listen closely! Hear that rapping?
That's old Tom a moving 'round!

For Dame Nature, through some error,
Left a place for Tom to hide!
And though he was weak with terror,
Soon he crawled to the outside.

But this story has an ending,
Different far from one you've read,
With a cheerful color lending
To a tale of fearsome dread.

Tom lay dreaming of a cave-in,
In the quiet of his room,
When into his mind sub-conscious,
Came the rending crack of doom!

Slipped to floor from bedclothes, groaning;
Crawling there on hands and knees;
Frightened! Searching! Feeling! Moaning!
Lost in dreamland's mysteries.

Craw led three times 'tween chairs and table,
Bumped his head against the trunk!
Blindly searched for light or cable;
Even crawled beneath the bunk!

Found a hammer near the doorway,
Crashed his way through plaster wall!
And at last emerged in safety
In the dormitory hall!


Here’s a toast to the army that built it,
To workers from river to town,
To the men and even the women
Who toiled, caring naught for renown.

To the men who were called foolish dreamers,
Or men who climbed mountains and vales
And traveled the drear, desert spaces,
0’er lonely and seldom trod trails.

To the supers, the walkers and shifters
Who urged as the battle was fought.
To the men who toiled in the headings,
To danger ne’er giving a thought.

To the draftsmen who just drew the pictures,
Or totaled the costs day by day;
To the men who planned and directed
The job as it moved on its way.

To the boys who pushed only the mucksticks;
To the crews who dished out the chuck;
To the men who kept the wheels rolling
In tunnels, in power house and truck.

To the men suff’ring pain, hurt or maiming;
Long hours behind hospital walls.
To the whiteclad doctors and nurses
Who eased other’s pain in their calls.

And a pause in the toast we are drinking,
With a prayer for pals who are gone,
That The Great Master Workman in Heav’n
Pays well for the job they have done!


Hustle the mucking! Come on with those cars!
Bar down! Lay the track! Get up the crownbars!
Bring in the jumbo! Set timbers and lag!
Airhose and water! Don’t let the job drag!
Machines on the crossbars! Tighten the clamps!
Get started drilling or we will be tramps!
Pull in that machine! Don’t break out too far!
Hurry up, Johnny! Who’s first off the bar?

Get hold of that blowpipe! Look out for the muck!
Move those lights back! Load dull steel on the truck!
Bring in the powder and tamp sticks and load!
Tie on the bus wires! Get out of the road!
Roll out with the jumbo! Lower the wings!
Not much to do—just a million odd things!
Plug in the cable and turn on the juice!
Hold tight a second until she cuts loose!

How goes the hour? Just a quarter past ten?
Get going, boys! Do it over again!
Back to the heading through smoke and the muck;
The best crew of men to drill and tend chuck!
I’ll push you and cuss, but you know the game!
Hurry and hustle! Each shift it’s the same!
We’ll show those Hoosiers and dumb scissor bills
How to drive tunnels ‘neath mountains and hills!

(The Miner’s Viewpoint.)

“Say, there ain’t much use in talkin’,”
Said the Gunner to the boss,
“Them engineers is nu’sances
An’ they sure would be a loss
If they had to drive a headin’
With a transit an’ a rod.”

“Guess we know which way we’re goin’,
Jest a candle an’ a sight;
We know when track ain’t level,
When the tunnel, it is tight
Without no guy in fancy pants
A measurin’ with a rod.”

“They jest stand around in bunches
With their pencils an’ it’s great,
How they tells us guys that knows how
How to drive the tunnels straight,
When they peek an’ point their fingers
Through a transit at a rod,”

(The Engineer’s Idea.)

“There are sometimes when I wonder ,”
Said the lanky engineer,
“Why those guys up in the headings
Have a job and labor here.
For they sure have missed their calling
Driving tunnel on a line.”

“If it wasn’t for my transit,
And me shooting line and grade,
They would wander through the mountains
Here and there without my aid,
And they’d pass the other heading
Somewhere east or west of here.”

“But with level and with transit
And a backsight and a rod,
I strive to keep the tunnel straight
I’m a sort of human god.
But it keeps our pencils busy
Helping miners hold their jobs.”


His monument stands in a city’s square,
Where the thousands who pass may read
Of a fortune made in the marts of trade
Or of wartimes’ valorous deed.
And the world is told of the great man’s worth,
As on brass is his graven name;
While the marble, fair, will long years stand there
As a mark of a great man’s fame.

My monument stands in the hills, away
From the rush of the speeding throng.
There are few who care as they wander there,
Of years that were weary and long.
But with pride I toiled in the tunnels, where
Hidden deep from the sight of man,
A battle was fought, a victory bought”
By those of that laboring clan.

And what has been cast through decades will last,
And I’ll know when my day is done,
My work there will tell that I builded well,
Though my name is not in its stone.
And monument fair, in the city’s square
Is worthless by mine it does seem,
While God’s blessings pour through the mountain’s bore
Each day in a thirst quenching stream.


(Jack Hill’s Rule For Digging Holes.)

Here’s a tale for the sons of old Erin,
Who have made the world brighter by far,
With the bits of their wit an’ their darin’
Than it could be from moonlight an’ star.

‘Twas a brave broth o’ man with the riggin’
Of a lineman with irons an’ straps,
By a bit of a hole he was diggin’
With a groundman’s mucksticks an’ his traps.

With a quirk of a smile said old “Top Deck,”
As he turned with a query to Jack,
“I’ll wager two bucks from my paycheck
I’ve a nut here that you cannot crack! “

“You’ve traveled the world! Learned the lineman’s game!
And you’ve clambered up many a pole;
But here is the bet! That you cannot name
The easy foot to dig of a hole! “

Just a split second Jack scratched at his pate,
Then he grinned with an Irishman’s might.
“Be Jabers! I’m thinkin’ ye’re badly bate!
If ye’ve dug holes ye’ll .know I’m dead right! “

“The top six inches av a hole is play
An’ I stop when the diggin’ gets tough;
Look down at the last six inches an’ say
‘Hell! Let ‘er go! She’s down dape enough!’ “


Two men came out to the job one day,
Both signed on at the same rate of pay;
Each was started at similar work,
Not hard enough for either to shirk.
Dick was a husky chap, so was Tim;
Able to work with vigor and vim.

Tim dug in with a swing and a lift,
Hustled his work throughout the whole shift,
Whistled a tune as the hours crawled by,
No task was set that he would not try.
Always took pride in a job well done,
Even worked harder if left alone.

Dick was a loafer; hated to toil;
Dodged any task where fingers could soil.
Spent half his time watching the boss.
Moved so slowly they thought he’d grow moss.
Ev’ry ten minutes looked at his watch,
Stalled along making good work a botch.

First in the mess hall; loudest to grieve;
Last on the job but first one to leave.
Talked of everything under the sun;
T old the world how the job should be run.
Strong to complain and wail at his plight;
Criticized men who tried to do right.

Tim climbed the ladder, earning more pay.
Dick drew a timecheck, went on his way.
These chaps you’ve seen, rubbed elbows with them;
With lessons taught by each of these men.
Work and hustle throughout the whole day;
It’s pluck, not luck, that gauges your pay!



We send our jobs to foreign shores
We sell our ports to foreigners
We give the power of freedom
So much more than it deserves.

To try to help make others free
Why should we give up our own?
Why must we give our leaders
The same trust we’ve never known?

Then there are the oil companies
Exxon one of the worst we know
Not one penny paid the fishermen
From that spill, so long ago.

Technology to replace oil
With something cheap and clean?
Quashed by greedy corporations
Most likely, never to be seen.

Have you ever gone to wally world
Seen, “Made in the U.S.A.”?
We don’t care what freedom costs
As long as it’s the cheapest way.

Young kids and people starving
Make the things we like to buy
While we can’t find a decent job
Because our wages are too high??

We can’t get out of our country
Without all those papers and shots
But our borders are wide open
For all of those foreigner, have-nots.

We have those who guard those borders
On a very dangerous “patrol”
In uniforms “Made in Mexico”
Now, that’s what I call, “Control”.

Never fear, “Homeland Security”
Says, they’re watching out for us
And then, when they don’t do it
They ask, “What is all the fuss?”

We send our Troops into harm’s way
And then we get them back as “Vets”
Try to screw them out of benefits
Now, that’s about as low as it gets.

We vote in our politicians
Then, we ask, “What did I do?”
We soon find out they lied again
But the dollar’s power, remains true!

The lobbyists outnumber us
And they will usually have their way
For unlike us they get something
For all those dollars that they pay.

If you can’t afford insurance
Or even if you’re one who can
You had better not get sick
Unless you fit into some plan.

And if you need medications
Or maybe, even if you don’t
You’ll pay for all that advertising
Because the drug companies sure won’t!

Don’t you try to save your money
With cheaper prices that you saw
In Canada or Mexico
They’ll make that against the law.

Our government has a plan
To make us well if we get ill
But, it seems "plans", “in the works”
But, they probably never will.

In this richest land on Earth
We have homeless on the street
The poor, people with the money
And the twain shall never meet.

Once we were a country looked to
As a place of truth and right
Now most think us no better
Than a thief creeping in the night.

Halliburton’s getting billions
To build camps for “Insurrection”
Seems like most, it will go forward
Without very much objection.

“By the People”, “For the People”
Is what we always used to say
But we all heard of, “Big Brother”
And looks like, he may have his way.

In “The New World Order”
There’s a place for you and me
But if you’re not one in power
You won’t be one of the free.

Maybe not too late to fix it
But, it’s something we should fear
When our freedoms will be lost
For, that day is drawing near.

Del “Abe” Jones

"Mankind's greatest accomplishment is not the revolution of technology, it is the evolution of creativity." copyright 1984 by Del "Abe" Jones
Please feel free to share poetry Ask your friends to visit my pages. If you post a piece let me know when and where. To be removed, let me know.
NEW POETRY ADDED (5-18-2004 to 12-10-2005) (9/11 Memoriam) to 5-18-04 (poetry)
Books, "MOONTIDES, AND OTHER CHANGES" & "THE WORLD, WAR, FREEDOM, AND MORE" available for free viewing or download in text format at
Pics of Ellis County Veterans Memorial in Waxahachie, Texas where two of my poems are inscribed
e-book, THE WORLD, WAR, FREEDOM, AND MORE" available for FREE. Ask for it.


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